131 border points vulnerable
The Head of Anti – Human Trafficking at the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS), Col. Bolley B. Morlu says 131 entry points into Liberia are still “left vulnerable and routinely patrolled” by the Border Patrol Unit of the LIS.
Speaking Wednesday, 13 November in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia at the commencement of a high level inception meeting and training of trainers for Liberia Media Development (LMD) partners on TIP, Col. Morlu explains that Liberia has 177 points of entry, out of which LIS officers are currently deployed at 46 ports of entry.
“As we all may be aware Liberia has 177 ports of entry, and currently we have our officers at 46 …, meaning there are still 131 that are left vulnerable and routinely patrolled by our Border Patrol Unit,” Col. Morlu says.Most times, Col. Morlu says the LIS has to go the extra mile to gather intelligence from people that are not law enforcement officers.
“We think this issue is serious. I was very much disheartened to learn that Liberia had been placed Tier 2 Watch List for the third time,” he continues.Liberia has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List by the U.S. State Department through its annual TIPs report last June.
This downgrading of Liberia marks the third consecutive year, and it rings a bell that the country needs to direct human efforts and resources toward the fight against TIPs if it must have good standing to access non – humanitarian development funds from the U.S.
Authorities knowledgeable in the sector say TIPs occur in several forms, including taking family or other people’s children under your care through deception that they will be given better opportunities like schooling, when the actual intent is to later abuse their rights, use them for labor or as breadwinners, among others.
“And because of this we [LIS] on this day want to pledge our best endeavors and efforts in helping the national task force, not to completely eliminate – because it’s difficult – but to reduce the number of trafficking in this country,” Col. Morlu says.
He notes that the Immigration is the first point of contact whenever somebody is entering Liberia, pledging the Institution’s support in combating TIPs here.
Col. Morlu explains that the issue of border management in Liberia is a very serious issue, noting that you cannot have a port of entry where somebody can just walk in from another country and enter.He concludes that fighting TIPs is not left to one institution, but everyone attending the training and the institutions that are part of the National Task Force.By Winston W. Parley